Jerusalem By Day And Night

A taste of Jerusalem, by day & night

Jerusalem, an ancient city with over 5,000 years of inhabited history; where people of diverse cultural backgrounds and religious beliefs live together in a region packed with the world’s holiest sites, biblically significant landmarks, an ever-evolving contemporary tapestry and a culinary and nightlife scene to rival any major city.

What better way to connect with the wonders of Jerusalem than through the senses – delving into the Middle Eastern delights within its markets, authentic and fusion street food, world-class restaurants, each tapping into a unique style all of its own, and an energetic nightlife scene peppering pockets and old alleyways throughout the city.

Immerse in Mahane Yehuda Market
First-timers in Israel should leave ample time to visit Mahane Yehuda, Jerusalem’s most beloved of markets and converging spot of the locals. The city’s most iconic marketplace first opened toward the late 19th century, during the rule of the British Mandate, developing into the go-to market for grocery shopping, dining and more.

A colourful and culturally rich bazaar with over 250 vendors, Mahane Yehuda is a blend of family run businesses, amid buzzing cafes and news stores, selling everything from freshly picked produce, fragrant spices, nuts and dried fruits in every variety, baked goods served warm from the oven, and an alluring display of sweet Middle Eastern delights.

During the last decade, an artistic project has spearheaded the transformation of the market into a top nightlife destination as evening draws in, where locals and tourists from all walks of life gather to enjoy the stretch of bars, shisha spots, restaurants of all genres, and even DJ and live music performances.

Whether it’s diving into a tasting at Beer Bazaar, from a selection of over 100 bottled Israeli micro brews; chomping on a portion of battered fish at Fishenchips; sampling mouth-watering tapas at Que Pasa; or sipping on a locally produced liquor of choice at Shuka, the market is a nirvana of fun, catering to every taste and budget.

Where to wine & dine

Outside of the market, Jerusalem’s food and drink scene is also something to behold, with the city fast gaining a reputation as internationally acclaimed for fine dining. Machneyuda, named so for its location by the market, is a celebrated restaurant helmed by three of Israel’s top chefs, who concoct inventive, ever-changing menus influenced by the tastes of North Africa and the Middle East. Salads, vegetarian, fish and meat dishes are served straight from the open kitchen, for a behind the scenes glimpse at the action. 

The street food is just as appealing – freshly churned hummus and warm pita at Hummus Ben Shira 3, and mouthwatering sabich sandwiches at Hasabichiya on Shamai St. 9., where fried aubergine and a hard boiled egg unite amid a dousing of tahini and fresh vegetables in a doughy pita –  all inspired from Iraqi Jewish cooking. 

And that’s not all, as the old city of Jerusalem is also home to a flourishing array of bars and pubs – a finely tuned repertoire to suit every mood and occasion. For a casual evening, soaking up the essence of Jeursalem by night, head to happy hour at Sira, a tiny bar and go-to for the city’s youngsters, where the drinks are simple and the music a shift between jazz and electric.

Gatsby, a speakeasy bar on Hillel St. 18, is meticulously designed to bring the spirit of the roaring 20s into the present day, serving arguably the most delectable and unique assortment of cocktails in town. And for the vino connoisseurs, step into Wine Bar, south of Rambam St., an elegantly lit affair where the waiters will tell you a thing or two about their selection of fine house wines, hailing from countries across Europe.

Yes, visit Jerusalem for its holy offerings, the mesmerizing Old City and its outstanding selection of museums, remembering to also dive into its vibrant, flavorful and, simply put, glorious culinary scene!

Photo by Katie Chen on Unsplash
Photo by nour tayeh on Unsplash

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